Thursday, May 22, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Amazing X-men #7
Some crossover stories have become so ingrained that we don’t even think of them as crossovers anymore. It’s like chocolate and peanut butter, bacon and whiskey, or tits and ass. To have one without the other simply defies logic. That’s why the idea of Spider-Man teaming up with the X-men barely qualifies as a crossover in the same way the Kardashians barely qualify as being celebrities. He has been teaming up with the X-men for so long that I’m amazed he hasn’t crashed in their mansion more often. So I’m not going to call this latest Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends retread. I’m less excited about this involving Spider-Man as I am about this being the return of Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, the Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg of X-men comics. They’ve taken over Amazing X-men while Jason Aaron takes his magical beard to write Original Sin. Amazing X-men #7 is their first issue back and they’ve decided to start simple, using one of the most common crossovers the X-men have done that doesn’t involve Wolverine getting drunk with Thor. With Nightcrawler coming back from the dead and Wolverine about to be dead for a while, I’m okay with keeping it simple.
And in that respect, it’s hard to get simpler than just going out for groceries. It’s one of those mundane tasks that doesn’t involve giant robots so it’s rarely subject to a story. Yet Iceman and Firestar find a way to make it interesting and they do it without the aid of a killer robot. They’re on what Iceman calls a “snack run,” which I think is code for, “We were too busy fighting giant robots and evil X-men from the future to get basic supplies.” They have some nice exchanges, but it’s not exactly the same flirtatious exchange they had in the first arc. For whatever reason, that has been glossed over. That’s too bad because if there’s one thing the X-men comics need, it’s another love affair with a pretty redhead.
They get outside. Iceman even throws in an indirect dick joke about which part of his body he provides ice from. He and Firestar are still annoying each other to a point where it’s hard to imagine there was any flirtatious undertone between them. But that might be for the best because something fucked up finally happens to ruin this otherwise mundane moment. It happens in this unexplained bright flash. And no, it’s not a killer robot or the Phoenix Force. It’s a baby.
Now a baby might sound like the least threating thing to ever come from some unexplained flash. But considering how the last time a baby appeared under mysterious circumstances led to the creation of Hope fucking Summers, I would prefer more killer robots. Hell, I would prefer another attack from Toad over another Hope fucking Summers. Marvel must have shitty child care services because they are very anti-baby. While Firestar’s motherly instincts kick in, it doesn’t take long for the baby to attract trouble.
Again, it’s not a killer robot. It’s the Amazing Spider-Man. He’s no longer the Superior Spider-Man. He even tries to apologize for it, but he still acts like a dick because he demands that they fork over the baby as if it had the keys to Emma Frost’s panties or Wolverine’s whiskey stash. Firestar and Iceman are obviously confused and a little suspicious. Spider-Man doesn’t even let them try to do the responsible thing and report the baby to Social Services where, hopefully, it can be adopted by Angelina Jolie. He’s a lot more serious than usual, not making jokes or wise-cracks. Either this baby has just shot his Aunt May or Mephisto sent it to fuck with him.
In the end, he doesn’t have to explain himself. The baby, channeling its inner Hope fucking Summers, reveals that it isn’t a normal baby. It isn’t even a human baby. It’s a baby/bat/demon/I-have-no-fucking-idea. It attacked Iceman and gave off another one of those ominous flashes. As if babies weren’t terrifying enough, this one has wings and cries acid. It sounds like the kind of baby that should be incorporated into a Sex Ed class. Any teenage boy or girl that sees this will have a lot of incentive to either use a condom or put a lock on their underwear. It’s more than a little fucked up, but in a playful sort of way. Where else can we get a demon/baby/bat without taking a fuckton of LSD? I may be confused, but I’m damaging less brain cells this way.
Iceman is able to calm it down with some cookies stuffed with processed preservatives. In that sense, he’s basically doing what 90 percent of American parents would do. Once the baby stops crying acid, Spider-Man takes it and swings off with it. Iceman and Firestar could probably leave it at that, trusting that Spider-Man knows what he’s doing. I’m sorry, I couldn’t type that with a straight face, even while sober. They’re still confused and not sure what the fuck he’s going to do. Having recently been under the control of his worst enemy, they have plenty of reason to be suspicious.
That said, going after him and fighting him still doesn’t make one goddamn bit of sense. This isn’t fucking Magneto they’re dealing with. It’s Spider-Man. They don’t ask questions or try to get an explanation. To be fair, Spider-Man doesn’t take the time to give them one. They just fight him. It’s a poorly detailed and poorly developed scenario. But since it involves a demon baby, it’s still entertaining. And there are some hints that maybe Spider-Man might actually know what he’s doing. I just barely managed to type that with a straight face too.
At some point, Firestar and Iceman managed to subdue Spider-Man long enough to get an explanation. He says there has been a kidnapping. They give him the “no shit” response, but he explains that it didn’t involve the baby. He says he needs this baby for an exchange to get back whoever was actually kidnapped. He doesn’t explain where the found the baby, how he found it, or how he knows it’ll be an effective bargaining chip. Those are all trivial details in a story that involves a demon baby with bat wings.
That leaves only one pressing question…how do aliens and a goat fit into all this? No, I didn’t take too many hits of LSD. No, I didn’t mix shrooms with my weed again. That’s actually a legitimate question because there are actual aliens involved and for some reason, they have a goat with them. Now I thought aliens only abducted cows and did experiments on their junk. A goat seems like a downgrade. But who am I to argue with an alien’s choice in pets? Maybe someone should try to turn them onto goldfish. It feels like one of those WTF moments, but it actually does play a part in the story. I didn’t type that with a straight face either.
I also can’t keep a straight face when the struggle for the baby turns into a big alien poop joke. And no, I didn’t just watch a Seth Rogan movie while stoned again. There is actually a poop joke thrown into this fucked up plot when Iceman suspects that the baby needs a diaper change. That somehow causes another big green explosion the likes of which does serious damage to Iceman’s shell, his sense of smell, and his ego. Even I can’t get stoned enough to make this shit up. While Iceman probably just gave himself a vasectomy by being caught in the crossfire, he manages to confirm that it is a boy and it eats some really crazy shit. After toilet humor of this magnitude, Iceman and Firestar finally agree to trust Spider-Man and go along with him to find the baby’s parents.
Now this whole scene isn’t just full with South Park level gags. It’s very disorganized and downright chaotic. First there was a goat on an alien ship. Then there’s a poop joke with an alien baby. It’s hard to believe that this is a plot in the same X-men comic that just recently told such an emotionally gripping story about Nightcrawler’s return. That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining. Anyone who can’t laugh at a good poop joke has no soul. It’s just a fucked up change of pace that makes for a fucked up story.
They eventually meet up at a zoo where the same alien ship from earlier lands. They have with them the same goat that they didn’t seem to know what to do with. Since they’re not into alien animal porn, they seem okay with exchanging it for the baby. There’s more chaotic, poorly detailed conflict when Firestar randomly attacks the aliens. But that all seems to be resolved when Spider-Man gets some kid to lend him his bag of chips. Again, I swear I’m not just describing my last LSD induced nightmare. This is actually what happened. The poor organization of the scene really shows here. It’s not clear how things go from Firestar attacking the aliens to the baby being reunited. It’s still fucked up, but it’s more confusing than entertaining. I don’t pretend that every episode of Family Guy isn’t fucked up to some degree, but at least it’s still entertaining.
Firestar and Iceman return to the Jean Grey Institute way less confused than me. They have their groceries and some disturbing experiences that will probably require a fuckton of therapy. But they have the groceries. We even find out that the goat they exchanged the baby for happened to be a mascot. I guess there are stranger mascots that a sports team could have. I miss the days when the only mascots involved animals that could be eaten. But for a story this fucked up, it’s not even top five in terms of things that are wrong with this story. They didn’t save the world. They just saved a mascot. Guess they all can’t be epic. But they did save the poopy diaper from the baby apparently because Wolverine found it in the trunk. And I guess any comic that ends on a poop joke can’t say it didn’t end on a high note.
This issue couldn’t have been more different in tone from the previous six issues if it were Whitney Huston doing a duet with Rosanne Barr. It wasn’t an epic struggle between the forces of Heaven and Hell. It involved an alien baby, poop jokes, dick jokes, and a goat. That may sound like a preview of the next Seth Rogan movie, but that didn’t mean it was any less fun. The striking change of tone is jarring. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s still fun. I mean who doesn’t enjoy an X-men comic that is a light-hearted for once? It took a fairly typical situation that isn’t often scrutinized and turned it into a struggle between aliens, babies, and maturity. It wasn’t all that concise and the characterization, especially for Spider-Man, was questionable at best. But it was funny as hell, even without the aid of weed. That alone is an accomplishment for any comic. That’s why I give Amazing X-men #7 a 6 out of 10. It’s not meant to take the characters in a bold new direction. It’s not meant to tip the balance between Heaven and Hell. It’s just a hilariously fucked up situation mixed in with a classic crossover. Anyone who can’t enjoy that on some levels is either a douche-bag, pure evil, or Rick Santorum. Nuff said!